Step-by-Step: Making Aliyah to Israel

Documenting the very personal process of making Aliyah (immigration to Israel) by one very atypical Israeli-American girl. Aliyah on 17, August, 2005. Roadmap: What do you mean there's no roadmap?! Hang on, we're in for a bumpy ride! Ole!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Very nice article

A new blog, Insert Clever Reference has an excellent article up titled "Trouble in Reuters-ville" examining the reports on the recent war in Lebanon by the media and takes an in-depth look at the reporting of one Reuters journalist in particular. The article starts off
Apparently, journalism schools in the UK teach differently than their other Western counterparts. It seems their classes on propaganda are not so much about its role in past history, but its role in the present. And their lectures not so much cautionary tales as 'how-to' seminars.

The editors at Reuters must have done very well at University, indeed. They have selected material not only from their best propaganda photographers, but also from their diverse "freelance" writing staff to bring about a "unique" view of the world.
It is a truly excellent piece and well worth a read.
For instance, ICR examines one of the articles written by this journalist and notes "This one is rather amazing to read. You can read it here. Ms. Noueihed goes on for three pages about Israeli attacks and the UN and blah blah for three pages before giving one line of coverage to the attacks of the day by Hezbollah, "Hezbollah launched rocket attacks on Haifa on Sunday, killing eight people in its deadliest strike on Israel." One line.

Not to be diverted from her stream of thought, Ms. Noueihed then writes, "Israel's campaign in Lebanon followed the launch of its offensive in the Gaza Strip on June 28 to try to retrieve another captured soldier and halt Palestinian rocket fire." What kind of revisionist history is this? Israel's "campaign in Lebanon" followed a cross-border incursion, the killing of six Israeli soldiers and the taking of two hostages; having nothing to do with Gaza. While they followed chronologically, it's like saying "The United States invasion of Japan followed its succession from England.""

My favourite part: Actually hrm I can't decide cos it is all good!
Go read :)

Wonderful Amazing People!

What have you done?! I am so overwhelmed. There are very few times, as people who know me can attest, that I am just at a complete loss for words. I am at that point now. I cannot express my gratitude and amazement for the generosity of spirit that I have witnessed today within just a few hours of putting up the donation button for help with the critter care. I am just totally at a loss for words with my thanks.

So you want to know what you have done?! I'll tell you exactly what you have done, you wonderful. Awesome. Amazing. People, you.

You have totally covered the vet bills for Mitzi, not just the ones from when I brought her in last week and the medicines that she's needed so far but also the ones that will come due when she goes back in next week for her shots and her follow-up care.
Mitzi daring to come forwardHere is Mitzi coming out of hiding under the desk. She is still extremely shy and frightened but will let me pet her so long as I do not try to pick her up.
Mitzi enjoying her little foodAnd here she is enjoying her little food. You can see how very, very skinny she has gotten since Dov and Chana moved away --and she has already been a week on A/D wet food 4 times a day to boost her weight and immune system --and her lovely, long, fluffy fur is all matted and dull. It will be a bit of time before I will be able to win her trust enough to bathe her but she definitely needs it. The marking on her nose is actually a large scab. The vet thinks that she cut her nose up trying to extricate herself from whatever caught (and cut off) two of her toes from her back foot. I haven't been able to get her to let me take the tape off her front leg from where she had the IV but it is just tape and not covering a wound.Collecting an audienceMitzi (and her food) has drawn quite an audience. The little boys (Matan, the biggest, Arye and Gingi) are quite interested in the newest household addition. I've kept this glass door open for several hours a day so she can come out if she wants but having it open frightens her and makes her go into hiding and it is always closed when I feed her to make her feel safe. With a wild bunch like this wanting to meet her, I don't blame her! One day soon, I hope, she will venture out into the rest of the apartment.

You guys have not just helped Mitzi though. You have also covered the cost of the de-worming that Marzipan has just had, plus his tests for FIV and FLV, plus kitten shots and then booster that will begin in about 2 weeks, plus his neutering! Little Marzipan was nearly squish beneath a bulldozer at the construction zone two doors down (twas a very close call!) and spent only a couple of weeks with me but now he has a wonderful home with Noorster --an awesome olah chaddasha with a very big heart for little fluffy critters. (As a good rescuer I, of course, promised his basic care of spaying and kitten shots and if you've heard about where this poor child works you know that taking him in isn't an easy thing on her budget!)

Not only that and that is more than enough. You guys have also covered the cost of food for the outside kitties for a whole month and maybe a bit more!

Awesome, wonderful, kind, generous people. My heart is so full and my words are so inadequate in thanking you. But thank you. Thank you again.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Help Yael Care for the Animals of Tel Aviv

After much trial there is now tribulation. To all of the really wonderful folks who have left comments and written me emails asking how they can help with the feeding, spaying and neutering, medical care, and so forth of the little animals abandoned on the streets of Tel Aviv, I've now got a donation account set up through paypal. Any help you can give is very greatly appreciated by both me and the many, many critters!

Help Yael Care for the Animals of Tel Aviv!
Donation button on the sidebar just above my links

Hrm when I attempted to have the button on the page in the post here clicking on it sent me to an error page but the button that is on the sidebar right under my profile works and takes you to the place where donation info can be filled out. Anyone have an idea why the button when placed in a post and with the exact same coding doesn't work?

And Reminder: Rally for Our Kidnapped Soldiers
Thursday, 7 p.m.
Kikar Rabin, Tel Aviv
Be there or be a squirrel!
***Israeli bloggers: some of us are meeting up prior to the rally at 6:15 at the coffee bean and tea leaf (on Ivn Givrol just down from the square--er to the north of the square) and thought it would be fun if we all went together to have a "blogging bloc" representation at the rally :) This is a cool opportunity to meet your fellow bloggers and show your support for the kidnapped troops at the same time! Hope to see ya there!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ambulances for Jihad

VENT Ambulances for Jihad

Michelle Malkin and Hotair ask that readers watch this video [for my regular readers this is new and has a ton of must-see video and material in it dealing with use of ambulances to transport terrorists and explosives] and then send the url for it along to the following three media outlets who reported the ambulance story uncritically (ITV had the most egregious coverage as you will see if you watch their report below) and seek a response:

ITV News (see their biased video report here) - Contact info here. Email:

Time magazine (their article here)- Contact info here. Email

The Boston Globe (article here) - Contact info here. Ombudsman email -

If you have a blog, blog it! Send it to friends, send it to enemies. You can send to your local media too and make them aware of this. Go viral with it!

Australian FM angry over faked "news" from Lebanon

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is standing firm on his comments yesterday slamming the media over its coverage of the Lebanon conflict.

Speaking in Brisbane, Mr Downer criticised local and international media for sloppy reporting and failing to check facts.

In particular, he singled out the London-based Reuters news agency over an incident in which a photographer deliberately manipulated a digital image so that the effects of an Israeli bombing raid over Beirut were exaggerated.

The news agency later admitted the alteration, quickly withdrew the image from circulation and the photographer, a stringer, was sacked.

But journalists’ reporting of the conflict also came under fire from the Foreign Minister.

He accused “some of the world’s most prestigious media outlets” of falling for a hoax in their reporting of an alleged aerial attack on a Lebanese Red Cross ambulance by Israel.

“After closer study of the images of the damage to the ambulance, it is beyond serious dispute that this episode has all the makings of a hoax,” Mr Downer said.

“Yet some of the world’s most prestigious media outlets, including some of those represented here today (Monday), ran that story as fact - unchallenged, unquestioned.”

Yes, finally!!! Now let's see if anyone in the Mainstream Media will pick this up or will they conveniently pretend that this never happened? I mean they are so good at presenting things that actually never happened not presenting this should be a shoe-in for them!

Tagged and other things

I've been tagged for a meme and, while I generally refuse to do these things, cos I got asked so nice and by a kewl blogger I didn't even know was blogging until now, I'm gonna do (but don't anyone else go gettin' any meme ideas :). First however, an important reminder for Israelis which you will see at the top of every post until after Thursday:
Rally for Our Kidnapped Soldiers
Thursday, 7 p.m.
Kikar Rabin, Tel Aviv
Be there or be a squirrel!

So the meme is about books. I like books and I hope to one day have the time to actually read one again...

1. Name one book that changed your life:
The Chosen, by Chaim Potok

2. One book you've read more than once:
This one is so not fair and so I'm going to prove I'm a real Israeli and a real stubborn southerner and ignore the rules. My philosophy is that any book worth reading once is worth reading more than once. I will therefore limit myself to those I have read a bajillion times and not those I've only re-read a couple times.

Every winter when it gets cold and blustery I set myself up with pots of hot tea and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin. Every winter. I also read the Lord of the Rings trilogy along with The Hobbit about every 2-3 years as well as Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (I would also read Jamaica Inn by the same author that often but lost my copy about 8 years ago. Sob.) and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I've read the entire series of The Wheel of Time every 2 or so years in preparation for the new one that will come out --sadly and happily the final book (12) will come out in like a year. And Robert Jordan better be planning a final book of several thousand pages because that is about how many loose ends he needs to tie up to finish the series!

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
This meme is evil! Only one?? Would I be getting off this desert island soon I hope?? I'm tempted to say War and Peace or Anna Karenina (both by Tolstoy) simply for length but it would be depressing enough to be stuck on a desert island with reading material that makes you feel like drowning yourself. [both are excellent books but, uh yeah, stay away from sharp objects while reading]. So, if stuck on a desert island I'd probably go with The Plague by Albert Camus (yeah ok, also depressing but ya know what to do?).

4. One book that made you laugh:
Again cheating it! Here are my top three: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Tool (you will roll on the floor); The Village of Stepanchikovo by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and whichever of the books from the All Creatures Great and Small series by James Herriot that has the episode about the crazy (shitting) cat that got loose in the car with James and Tristan. I thought I would die laughing.

5. One book that made you cry:
Oy. Many but I'm only going to list one because I cry every time I open it. I Never Saw Another Butterfly, Children's Drawings and Poems From Terezin Concentration Camp. My mother got me this when I was maybe 13 (Ema when?) and it has had a huge emotional impact on me.

6. One book you wish you'd written:
Watership Down by Richard Adams. Love this book, love this book!

7. One book you wish had never been written:
Anything by William Faulkner. Take your pick.

8. One book you're currently reading:
Harry Potter and the Secret Chamber (book 2) in hebrew. I've already read the series up to date in english and in german so now...Also reading Oto Ha'yam by Amos Oz but that is way slooooooow going and Point of a Needle (חוד הכישור) by Robeen Makinley (??) also in hebrew.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
Argh, I can't remember the title but I have it somewhere in my apartment and it was recommended to me by Jameel at the Muqata and if it had an english title I'd have a chance of a snowball in hell of remembering but since it doesn't and isn't...Jameel??!!

10. Tag five people:
This is totally evil because every time I've tagged people in these things they never behave and I'm going to probably die from all the non-compliance behavior out there but here goes:

Nominally Challenged
Savta Dotty
Katrina Yellow
Shalom Israel

Oh dear oh dear, fake news reports from Gaza

Here's a heads' up *folks in Gaza, the West Bank, and Hezbollah (the latter for the next time you attack and cause a war): bloggers are on to you. This means that, while the Mainstream Media (MSM) might be more than willing to publish and hawk your fake stories, you will be caught out. And here's a further heads up to both you and the MSM: more people are finding out about the fakery through the blogs that then "go viral" than see the original reports by the MSM. So you will be caught in lies. And the more you lie the more people will not believe you when you tell the truth. People are already thinking of you as the "little boy who called wolf."

The latest lie: Israelis hit a (clearly marked --thus on purpose) reuters news van with two missiles and injured the two news members.

How do we know this is a lie? Well Allah, Little Green Footballs, Jawa, Powerline and others are all over this story --and when they get their teeth into something they can bite on, believe me it is a story (or lie) worth biting. To get some confirmation that this is a lie being pablum fed to the unwary, check out the pictures and the reports on the (false) claimshere here and here and here and here and...yes there are more.

Oh and LFG has discovered that the only picture that has been pulled from the official Red Cross Site is the high resolution picture of the ambulance that theoretically was hit by an israeli missile in Lebanon: but they are a bit too late to attempt a cover-up because we already know from Zombietime's extensive report that this too was a staged event that did not happen. And LGF, at the link above, was astute enough to have saved a copy of the high res photo so it can still be viewed and conclusions drawn.

So the message to Pallywood, Hezbollywood, and the MSM that promotes them is this: either get a whole lot slicker with your lies or just don't tell them. Me, I'm voting for the latter but hey...

*Obviously I'm not talking to the average citizen in Gaza and the West Bank for they are as much victims of these shenanigans as the other viewers around the world. And in fact, they are much greater victims of it, for they believe these reports and this fuels their anger, discontent, sense of victimhood, and makes them ripe fodder for the extremist elements.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Refreshing breath of air

If you haven't been over to Free Cedar in a while (or ever) and you want to have your faith and hope for humanity restored, pop over and read the latest post there. The author of the blog Free Cedar has really earned my respect in so many ways. Through-out all of this madness in the last couple of months the posts, the tone, the call for clear and rational thought and debate, and the empathy for all involved has not waivered. I wish my own thoughts and tenor could remain so grounded.

Rally for the release of our kidnapped soldiers

Ok, I'm reading everywhere that there is going to be a rally on Thursday for the release of our kidnapped soldiers in the square. Nowhere, however, can I find a time that it will take place. I'm supposed to be in Beer Sheva on Thursday but consider attendance at this rally important enough to shift meetings about and possibly re-schedule entirely. But when on Thursday? If anyone has the goods on that could ya please email me or leave in the comments? :)

Many thanks!

For Israelis:
Update: Thursday, 7pm, Kikar Rabin, Rally for our Kidnapped Soldiers. Be there or be a squirrel!

Tamir wants more Arab-Israelis in National Service

Yuli Tamir has just announced a new proposal:
Education minister launches new project in which she aspires to integrate Arab sector into national service, which usually serves as an alternative volunteer framework for religious sector instead of military service

Hmmmm maybe I should go into politics since my proposals seem to be right in line...nahhh cos then I'd have to spend my blog space griping, yelling and complaining at myself. It is far more fun and comfortable to kvetch about others :)

On the Gaza Border

Michael J. Totten is showing his mettle again, this time going down to the border of Gaza and reporting back on what things are like down there. He is reporting on what things are like on the Israeli side of the border (yeah, you know there is an Israeli side of the border, people live there, and things do happen there (like rockets falling and exploding)--not that you'd know that from mainstream media's coverage of anything dealing with Gaza). Michael has posted part 1 of an already excellent piece showing what he saw and heard. He's got a lot of pictures up so you can see too. Highly recommended.

(Yes Savta, I did mean mettle and not metal! heh thanks for pointing out the bad spelling on my part!)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wow, I think I saw a pig fly by

Check this out, did you ever think you'd hear this coming out of a Hamas spokesperson's mouth?
Soul searching in Hamas. Dr Ghazi Hamad, the spokesperson of the Palestinian government, waged scathing criticism against the Palestinian public on Sunday, blaming the Palestinians for turning the Gaza Strip into a lawless and violent place....
He actually comes out and says that "the occupation" isn't responsible for all their problems --well like, yeah dude, Gaza was like unoccupied for a whole year and things were made far worse since we left than when we were occupying there in the months immediately following the pull-out and before you decided to elect terrorists and bring on an embargo of aid. He goes on
"We didn't succeed in preserving the victory of liberating Gaza. 500 people died in the Strip since the withdrawal, as opposed to 3-4 Israelis killed by rockets. The reality in Gaza today is one of neglect, sadness, and failure. When someone errs we are scared to criticize him to avoid being accused of being against the resistance,"

"When efforts are made to open the Rafah border crossing to ease the humanitarian crisis, there is always someone who fires a rocket on the crossing. When we speak about a truce, there is always someone who fires another rocket."...
And a second pig definitely flew by today when Nasrallah admitted that if he'd had any idea about what the Israeli reaction would be he would never have ordered the kidnapping of our two soldiers.

So I've seen two pigs fly by. I'm waiting for the cow with wings ...hmmm think Olmert might oblige by coming out and stating what we already know "I, Ehud Olmert, am an idiot" ? Yeah, I'm greedy, I want a whole zoo full of animals taking to the air.

Oooo flying dog: Al Queda website condemns the "infidel Hizbullah" and "the most corrupted regimes of Syria and Iran."

And the Sandmonkey has spotted a giraffe lifting off of the runway as he reports:
it's not only the sunnis or the christians in the south who are raging at Hezbollah, it's now some of the lebanese Shia clergy are angry as well. Ali Ameen, the mufti of Sour and Jabal Amin has issued declartaions to Al Nahar newspaper, where he critisized Hezbollah calling people who want it to disarm traitors, and is rejecting the idea that they have a monopoly on Lebanon's Shia or that they act based upon their consent.

The Slum Landlord

I have finally relocated the phone number of the slum landlord I had for my last apartment in New York. Sadly, although I have been looking for it with off and on frantic urgency for the last two months, I did not find it through searches for it today. No, I found it while retrieving a cat toy from under the sofa for a whiny "I really am still just a baby" kitten. And there, under the sofa, was the little slip of paper, partly chewed on (obviously by the now "I can't even try to claim baby kitty status" Matan) but still legible. I clutched onto it like it was gold, as indeed it is, and ran for my phone.

He answered on the first ring and after identifying myself he asked so how are you?
"I'd be much better if I'd ever received my deposit back from the apartment I moved out of a YEAR ago" was my very tart reply. Because you see, despite numerous phone calls across an ocean my very hefty deposit has never been re-deposited into my now in the red bank account in New York. And it is so unkewl to be in the red in two different countries, let me tell you. It is particularly unkewl to be in the red in the country that you slaved yourself to death in to leave the apartment spotlessly clean and in better condition than I moved into it (which would not have been hard, trust me) in order to get said hefty deposit back which should have kept the checks that went bouncy-bounce from doing so.

He promised it will go in the bank tomorrow and tried to blame it on his boss. Whatever. It has been a year. It better go in tomorrow or heads will roll. I yelled at him that I want all the interest it has been collecting too but I'll be happy if the original amount actually goes in.

Let's hope blogger will let me post. It wouldn't let me update for hours earlier. ***Oh ack, i just refreshed and see that it has now posted all my repeated attempts to post the same post when it kept telling me there was a fatal error. Blogger burp indeed! Hmm better delete at least a few of 'em, heh.

FREED! The two fox journalists are safe and free!

They are safe and surrounded by friends and colleagues! They were brought into a hotel about half an hour ago and are just now on their way out of Gaza to Jerusalem (1 pm), according to Fox right now. Thank G-d!!

Now we have to focus on pushing for the release of Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Holy smokes

I'd heard that a third terrorist in the plot to blow up trains in Germany had been arrested. I nearly fell off my chair when I read the article today in Die Welle: he was arrested in a student dorm in Konstanz. Little teeny tiny beautiful rural and pastoral Konstanz on the Bodensee! My Konstanz. The city, outside of Tel Aviv, that I most consider home. Nothing. Ever. Happens. In. Konstanz. While it is a little tourist haven in the summer, it is so off the beaten track that only super slow regional trains service it (we call them the Bumblybahns) and it takes a good 5 hours to get to Munich by train and you have to change in Baden Baden (driving you can get there in an hour and half at the longest). I mean to say, a terrorist hanging out and plotting attacks in Konstanz??!!

If you can find a terrorist in Konstanz, you can find them anywhere. Good night!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Can't stop the tears

Lisa thank you for this post and for your translation: When a single death becomes a collective symbol

Lebanese threatened by Hezbollah seek refuge in Israel

According to an article on YNET Eight family members from Lebanon, former members of the Southern Lebanese Army , arrived Thursday afternoon within 10 meters of the border next to Metula and requested IDF authorization to enter into Israel following Hizbullah threats to cause them physical harm. It turns out that this is a real phenomenon in which Hizbullah members threaten family members of former SLA members.

There are already about 2,500 Lebanese living in Israel and who have been granted Israeli citizenship after they were forced to flee Lebanon when Hezbollah issued death threats against their families over the past years.

In other news, Israelis are united in singing the sentiment "hey hey, ho ho, Olmert and Peretz have got to go." From the left, right, and center Israelis want the current government OUT. Fully 63% want Olmert gone and 74% want Peretz out of his current ministerial position as head of the Defense portfolio (like anybody thought he should be in that position to begin with).

Did Israel use chemical weapons? Media was hoaxed again...

Did Israel use chemical weapons?

Another claim reported in the media proved false! Little Green Footballs sums it up thus: "German public TV ARD looked into the latest mainstream antisemitic libel to make the rounds of Arab and Western media, the report that mysteriously blackened bodies in Lebanon had been victims of mysterious super-blackening Zionist “chemical weapons.” They took tissue samples from the bodies and had them scientifically analyzed. And nobody scientifically analyzes better than Germans.

I’ll leave the verdict as a surprise until the end of the video. (Heh.)"

The video above shows the investigation done by TV ARD in conjunction with an internationally recognized neutral medical group.

Two extensive reports show that Two Majorly Reported "Israeli Crimes" DIDN'T Happen

Sorry, I promised this post last night but collapsed into lethargy after over-feeding myself on pasta :)

Report Number 1:
So remember the super hot story that hit every newspaper and television station in the world about "Israel Deliberately Targeting Red Cross Ambulances":
On the night of July 23, 2006, an Israeli aircraft intentionally fired missiles at and struck two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances performing rescue operations, causing huge explosions that injured everyone inside the vehicles. Or so says the global media, including Time magazine, the BBC, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and thousands of other outlets around the world. If true, the incident would have been an egregious and indefensible violation of the Geneva Convention, and would constitute a war crime committed by the state of Israel.

But there's one problem: It never happened.
Zombie has put up a post with extensive evidence that this event never happened at all. The pictures speak for themselves --He has up the photos shown all over the world showing the supposed ambulance hit by an Israeli missle with the hole in its roof. He's collected them all together as evidence of the event that wasn't. Take a look and as you will see, that hole was the hole made by simply removing the siren from the top of the ambulance. You can even see the considerable rust on the ambulance in all the places it was theoretically damaged on its roof showing these were long-ago errr "missile" injuries. Photos of the interior of the ambulance obviously show that no "fire" occurred as was reported. Somehow a guy's leg got amputated by this missle that managed to come in and make a hole of the same size as the (missing) siren and then with amazing precision cut this guy's leg off without making a scratch on the gurney he was laying on and without leaving any blood. This missile it seems must have stopped and perched itself on the severed leg because it did no damage to the interior of the vehicle. Certainly, it didn't explode. He has photos, also shown all over the world, of the "injured" amulance driver with his face in bandages.

But he also has the photos of the "injured" ambulance driver taken a few days later walking about without so much as a scratch visible on the very good close-up photos he was posing for. Same guy but miraculously healed! G-d obviously came down and managed to heal him 100% (amen) and left not even a nick, a scab, a pimple on his before badly injured face. And he has much, much more. Go read the post! :)

Report Number 2:

Qana. Eu Referendum has finished an in-depth and very thorough examination of the media portrayal of what occurred at Qana and the only conclusions that can be drawn is that this event was staged. While some of the things he discusses and reports are things you've probably already seen and heard, he has compiled loads of new material, new video showing the staging, new photos that have come to light, and a preponderance of evidence showing that things just didn't happen the way the AP has insisted. I've been following this investigation over on the EURef since they started covering it and have been waiting with bated breath for the full report to be completed. I wasn't disappointed. Definitely an eye-opener!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Seriously long day

Last night, in addition to being hot I got was able to realize just exactly how dirty my bathroom floor was (despite having been mopped the day before) after I got food poisoning from the tuna salad I made --hint, mayo in this heat can go bad in under half an hour. Don't know what magical qualities bathroom floors possess but laying down on one is a sure cure for nausea. First thing I did this morning was to mop that floor on the off chance I might have to get up close and personal with it again anytime soon. Then it was off to a shaky day of meetings but the meetings were really fantastic. I met with a student then made my way to Bar Ilan and met with a colleague who said lovely words like "subject pool," "experimental design" that nearly made me swoon with happiness. I have a pile of work to do as a result of that meeting (syllabi to create coming out of my ears) and that needs to be done quickly. Then I met with another colleague who is at B.I. on an impromtu --hey, I'm on campus --meeting and that was fun. The best thing was as we were leaving he asked, "so do you know when we all start back?" Aha! And I thought I was the only clueless one when it comes to stuff like this :) Nope, I told him, not a clue. I do know that I am absolutely in love with years when the High Holy Days fall late. Absolutely!

Then it was a "find your way back to Tel Aviv on the bus" adventure starting with finding the right bus --no easy task. Of course I missed my correct stop because, coming at it from a completely different direction things were completely unrecognizable to me and I was like ohhhh heyyyy I think it was like back...hmmmm. So I ended up going all the way to the central bus station where I knew I could catch a sherut right to the next meeting spot. I got to the meeting with one minute to spare. Then from there it was a rush to collect Mitzi the cat before the vet closed at 8. Got there with about 2 minutes to spare.

The good news on the Mitzi front is that Dov and Hannah had obviously scraped up enough money to get her spayed. For people on such a fixed income this was a major sacrifice (thank you, thank you!). Definitely good people. The bad news is that the poor little things had to have an enema which wasn't completely successful as she had weeks (quite literally) of food empacted in her digestive tract caused by an incredible amount of hairballs and worms. She is on special food now and needs to have medicine 3 times a day for the next 3 weeks for that particular situation and meds for her foot this is minus its little toes.

I am off to fix something to eat. Haven't had time to eat a single bite today yet but trust me dinner will not include anything that could possibly be effected by the heat. Another post coming hopefully (unless I pass out from heat and exhaustion) after I eat to round up some of the political and media developments (yo, remember that whole "Israel deliberately targeted Red Cross ambulances" story that hit all the newspapers around the world and got prime play on the BBC? DID NOT HAPPEN. Link to the very considerable proof that Hezbollah staged the entire thing from beginning to end in just a bit!)

Our MKs do not represent us, Arab-Israelis say

Survey conducted by Dahaf Institute shows 40 percent of Israelis believe most Israeli Arabs supported Hizbullah leader during war; 15 percent believe all Arabs supported him, while only 18 percent of Arabs admit they did support him. 'Our MKs do not represent us,' 44 percent of Arabs say

And this is exactly why I suggested this.


Those who have been reading my blog for awhile have heard me talk about my very elderly neighbors, Dov and Hannah. Dov and his wife are Holocaust survivors and, when I first moved to this apartment, I discovered that Hannah had for several years not really been able to leave their apartment due to illness. Dov seemed quite spry and, indeed, served as the "vad bayit" --or caretaker of our apartment building. But in early January Dov's health took a bad turn for the worse. He was in and out of hospital and then he fell and broke his hip. That really was where things went downhill for him as far as his health and he became an absolute shell of the man I first met with the wide and kind smile and generous spirit. This was the elderly couple that I was tasked with getting to the bomb shelter (otherwise known as our basement) during the early part of the war and was extremely worried about this as they, well, they can barely walk at all. Just two weeks into the war, however, they went into an assisted living facility for the elderly.

I posted awhile back about how kind they were when they discovered that I had taken in Matan. Dov brought me into their apartment and gave me many kitty supplies that they had there (a litter box, flea spray, and some toys) and I spent nearly 3 hours with them looking through their photo albums of their precious cat who, after being with them for 23 years died two summers ago. They have no children and the loss was obviously devastating for them. In the meantime Dov had adopted another stray cat, a beautiful, fluffy girl kitty that he called Mitzi. He fed her just outside the entrance and spent hours sitting on a chair in front of our building with Mitzi in his lap. He once said ruefully that he wished he could take her into the apartment but that it would not be fair to her because she would far outlive he and his wife. I would often come home and see the two of them together, Mitzi sitting on his lap and Dov stroking her fluffy little back.

He fed only Mitzi because, as he noted sadly, they couldn't afford to feed them all and Mitzi, well, she had won his heart. It was plain to see that he had won hers as well. And she was fat, sassy and fluffy compared to the other strays in the area. She always came up to me for a good pet and got an extra feeding when I fed the others who were not as lucky to be as loved as she. I always knew when Dov was in the hospital again because there would be the inevitable little note, "could you please take care of Dov's Mitzi" stuck to my door. And of course I did.

When Dov and Hannah moved away I didn't really think about Mitzi. There was a war on and I was, of course, still feeding the outside cats but Mitzi wasn't among them. Because I didn't see her among the usual crowd, I assumed that Dov had managed to make arrangements for Mitzi. And maybe he did.

Early this evening as I was walking down to my little cafe to continue working with the hopes that a new environment would give me renewed energy, I heard a little piteous meow. The kind that stop you in your tracks. A little cat, thin to the point of emaciation and limping badly, came out from behind the gate at the synagogue and came up to me where I had stopped and then wound around my legs. It began to purr but it was completely unrecognizable. I feed all the cats in a two block radius and I'd never seen this one before, certainly not one that comes up...or had I?

"Mitzi?" I said aloud, sure that I was wrong. But no, on closer inspection I was absolutely sure that it was, indeed, a Mitzi changed almost beyond recognition. The long fluffy furr was matted and filthy. She was so very thin and gaunt. Two toes were missing from her back leg that was coated with blood. But this was Mitzi. There was no doubt that this was Mitzi.

I hesitated only a moment and then left her there on the street. I retraced my steps to my apartment, gathered some food and a cat carrier and went back again. She had retreated behind the gate again but when I approached she hobbled forward. I put the food in the carrier and in she went like she did this everyday. Shut the door and round the corner to the vet I sped because she was not liking being in the carrier one bit.

Mitzi is at the vet's tonight. She is on an IV drip because she was horribly dehydrated, her injured foot has been bathed and bandaged, she is anemic and was given vitamins, she has had a test for FIV and FLV (feline aids and feline leukemia). In the morning she will be spayed and have all of her shots. In the evening I will collect her and bring her home if she is free of the two above diseases. I will try to find a permanent home for her but if not then she will stay in my menagerie. For her sake, and for Dov's.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Celebratory Whine

Yes, that is right I'm both celebrating and whining at the same time. The reason(s) is work-related (mostly). After tomorrow the celebration might increase even more and I can guarantee that the whining will :)

So from 8 a.m. this morning my phone has been ringing off the hook and I've gotten very rude when answering it, giving the "yeah whaddya want" intonation to my hallo. Four students, a colleague to whom I whined about the incredible number of students I've got and that they are to a one driving me insane, a reporter (to whom I did not whine or complain, heh), and then the (two) phone calls that are reason for celebration --but don't worry, you'll get to hear me whine some more in a few minutes. The folks in social psychology dept (ie. people who speak my language!! understand statistics! DO LAB STUDIES) at the Benchomi want me to have a half-time appointment in the psych dept!!! I'm meeting tomorrow with them to talk courses to teach. Yes, this means courses dealing with theories I have actually heard of and use!!! I've been doing happy little dances all over my apartment.

A second reason to celebrate (not yet but quite soon) is that a major massive project I've been working on is going to be unveiled within a couple of weeks. When it happens believe me you will all know about it because I'll tell you more than you probably ever wanted to know about it, heh :) In between now and then though I'm crazed with putting things together for it.

Now on to some serious whining. I have 18 thesis students. 18. Yes that is a 1 and an 8 together there making the number very close to 20. I have a half-time position and I have 18 thesis students. All of whom are writing their theses in hebrew. Because they are in communications they have the horrific requirement to write what amount to novels. (Now in psych, your dissertation is a total of maybe 70 pages at a max. These masters students have to write a minimum of 60 pages!). Now I have a lovely colleague (different from colleague above) who is full-time and has a total of 7 (yes that is a single digit number) thesis students and he keeps sending me more of them. I got another 4 emails and phone calls from "please be my advisor" kids this week. ENOUGH. No. So I said no when they called and wrote and one of them went back to the person who sent her. Then he of only 7 called me to say you really need to take this one because you are the only one working in the area that she wants to work in. Yes, well I pointed out that her original idea was in his area but he didn't like it (or didn't want another student, ahem). Anyway, I'm putting my foot down. And something has to be done about these 18 because this would be damn near impossible to handle if hebrew were my native language.

I'm spending the bulk of my day today running stats for thesis students and kids in my course. This is another thing I'm going to scream about: why do these kids have no knowledge of SPSS and think that designing studies that only examine descriptives is just fine and why haven't they been taught to run more than a frequency analyses in SPSS?! They've never heard of ANOVAs, have no idea what a regression is and those are baby statistical analyses!! I am really going to have to hurt someone soon. I've inherited a ton of thesis students who have already had their projects approved and run their studies and are now in write-it-and-finish-NOW phase (or be kicked from the program because they haven't finished in 6 years). I am in shock. I would not give approval for studies of this quality, that only examine descriptives, that have no theory behind them, and that examine questions in the "who the hell cares?" arena for students in my undergraduate classes back at NYU much less for a thesis student. Whoever let these students get this far on these projects is criminally negligent and certainly if I got sent a thesis along these lines I would never pass it as a reader. So I'm desperately attempting damage control for them because I am now the prof on record behind their projects and so their "research" will reflect on _me_.

Ok, I've whined enough (though trust me I still have loads of whines just waiting in the wings).

Psychology take me away!

I'm melting

...into a puddle of sweat. What is up with this humidity? It was not this humid this time last year. It is not as hot and humid as what I grew up with but it is still nearly beyond endurance if you don't have an air-conditioner. Which I don't. I have a fan. Actually two fans. They are blowing hot and humid air. Even the kittens are sprawled out and unable to muster the strength to destroy anything in the apartment at the moment. That will change, of course, as soon as it gets cool enough to think about trying to sleep. They will be full of vim and vigor then, knocking things over, jumping on me and being a nuisance until the sun starts streaming in about 6 a.m. and it becomes to hot too sleep (me) and too hot to play (them)...

A week ago the weather was so nice that it was perfect sleeping weather, except that there was a war on and so I was up. Now that the war is off I'd like to be asleep (for maybe a week or two straight) but it is too HOT.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Sinai bus crash and Israelis killed

At least 8 Israeli-Arabs have been killed and more than 20 injured in a bus crash in the Sinai :(. Magan David Adom is waiting at the Taba Crossing and is trying to convince Egypt to let them bring the injured to hospitals in Eilat because they are currently being taken to Nuweiba hospital which is more of a clinic than a hospital equipped to deal with massive amounts of injured. So far Egypt is not allowing their evacuation. Thirty MDA amublances and six mobile intensive care units have been dispatched from Israel south to the crossing, and Eilat's Yoseftal Medical Center has been put on alert in the hopes that we can bring them home.

Everytime I hear about something like this it makes me wish that I was already EMT trained and volunteering. I'd planned to take an EMT course this summer so I could start volunteering in the fall but because my hebrew is still so pitiful I wasn't able to do it. I hate the idea of waiting all the way until next summer but I don't see the hebrew getting good enough before then or having the time for the course during the school year. I'm hoping the injured will be ok and can be brought home quickly.

Michael J Totten has an excellent post up about the war in our northern areas. He takes on those who claim that Hezbollah was firing at military rather than civilian targets. He's got a lot of pictures up of Kiryat Shmona as well. Scroll down to his August 18th, post.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A (probably) controversial proposal

I've thought quite a lot about the "problems" we have with our minority citizens --to not mince words, with Arab-Israeli citizens. I've put the word "problems" in quotes because as will become clear some of those problems are ones they have with us, the majority, and others are problems that we, the majority, have with them as a minority. The two major problems are as follows and nearly all the other problems stem from one of these two:

1. Many Jewish Israelis, who are in the majority, do not trust Arab-Israelis, who are in the minority (approx. 18% of the population). In particular there are pretty deeply steeped suspicians among the Jewish public that the arab minority holds greater allegiance to the Palestinians, Egyptians, [insert any and all arab countries and groups] than they do to their own country.

2. Arab-Israelis feel that they are treated as second-class citizens.

Can we, right off the bat, recognize the dynamics for a vicious cycle here: people who are distrusted are not treated as well as those who are trusted. People who are not treated as well will have a greater inclination to not feel invested in and a loyal member of their country.

My proposal [Michael you are not allowed to post any long rants, got it?] would go a long way to solving both of the above issues as well as some others that have nothing to do with Arab-Israelis but everything to do with another, this time Jewish, minority group which finds itself in the same boat --but on opposite sides of the political spectrum--with the Arab-israeli minority.
My proposal is quite simple: Mandatory military/national service for everyone. Period.
Arab-Israeli: you serve. Haredi (super religious Jews): you serve. Average secular guy and gal off the street: You serve. Quadriplegic: You serve. No exceptions.

Now everyone take a deep breath and hold your screaming til the end because I think by the end you won't want to scream.

Currently, Arab-Israelis are legally exempt from serving in the military. While many do serve voluntarily there is not a global "at 18 you must serve" requirement for them. Similarly, the ultra-religious Jews are also not required to serve, although some do, again voluntarily. Everyone else is required to serve [although, as Lena (without-a-homepage) pointed out there are loopholes that people take advantage of to get out of it]. Most do serve, however, at least in some capacity.

For good or for ill, serving in the IDF or doing National Service has life-long implications. People not only form strong bonds with the mates they serve with that last a lifetime but these people often also become one's prime "protexia" network (e.g. the people who will help you --or your kid, or your cousin..get a job, co-sign on your mortgage, and help out in numerous other ways). It also can have bearing on your career. For instance, when I first moved here I had to put my resume into Israeli format. I had to include "dates of military service: none" right up at the top of my resume. In my field this isn't influential but in other areas you bet having "none" on there will bias people. I know a number of people (Jews) who for various reasons did not serve and twenty years down the road say, yeah if it hasn't actively hurt me it certainly hasn't helped, and most of them can point to specific instances that they feel sure that not having served was an influential factor in their not getting particular jobs, promotions, and so forth. In general, people tend to feel a great deal of resentment toward the populations that don't serve whether they are religious jews or arab-israelis.

Arab-Israelis are not legally required to serve on the basis that, were they to serve, they might be called upon to fight members of their families who live in Egypt, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Lebanon and so forth and that this could be problematic for them. Another factor that undoubtedly went (silently) into the decision to "privilege" them by not requiring service was the fear that we might be in effect training a segment of the army that would then attempt a coup or start a civil war, or at least put weapons into the hands of a few nutters that might go off.

In a country which is a) extremely tiny, b) surrounded by lots and lots of people who want to see us destroyed, and has gone through 5 major and 1 minor wars starting from 48 hours after the country was founded PLUS this latest one (can we call it a war yet?) whether or not you've "served your country" is a big deal. Not a single generation of children has grown up without enduring a war here. Certainly suspicians that you may actually harbor disloyalty to your country is a very big deal. And such perceptions of disloyalty are certainly not helped by the most visible among the Arab-Israeli population: the Arab MKs who are elected to serve in the Knesset and who are constantly praising anything that damages the country. The fact is, however, that these MKs are far more radical than the average arab citizen and win fewer votes from the arab populace than do the Zionist candidates. But, while they are not representative they are certainly the most heard from and they do a great deal of harm to their communities by furthering perceptions that "these people can't be trusted and are treasonous."

So, my proposal is that everyone must serve no matter who the heck you are. We currently have two tracks in place and there is no reason on earth those two tracks could not and should not expanded to include everyone. If you have a problem with doing active military service, fine, you get to choose the National Service option. The National Service program could be expanded to take on tons of social projects that would advance this country as a whole such as building playgrounds in economically depressed areas, putting more tutors in place in schools for children. We could do away with the need for a lot of the temporary foreign workers by, for instance, saying "ok for the privilege of serving your country without risking getting shot at, you get to harvest the fields of Kibbutz X or company Y." There are many, many projects that could be included.

This would go a long way to a) instilling a greater sense of pride and investment in this country among the Arab-Israeli and the Super Extremely Religious populations b) reducing the stigma attached to these groups because they don't serve c) putting everyone on more equal footing, increase inter-mingling and thus greater acceptance, and so forth and thus engendering greater equality all down the line, and d)improving our country and our social services in numerous ways.

Bottom line: Everyone serves equally, everyone gets treated more equally, everyone feels greater investment and loyalty to their country and fellow citizens.

NOTE: National Service is non-military and involves such things as volunteering in hospitals, working with the elderly, tutoring children in need, and other community-building projects. How is it that people who live here don't know this??

Stratfor : the best place to get unbiased world news

Never heard of Stratfor before? Until a couple of weeks ago, neither had I. The analyses of the situation here in the Middle East that they've put out has been right on the money and takes neither a pro nor anti Israeli (or anyone else) slant. When they note that they provide "predictive, insightful global intelligence" they really mean it.

The Stratfor center is located in Austin, Texas my own hometown in the States and they've got some of the best intelligence experts working for them from around the world. While they don't cover local news, they certainly do a bang-up job on everything with international implications for business, security, and politics. They offer free reports that are extremely useful and can be downloaded off their site. You can also join for access to all their analyses as they come out and their discussion forums for $100 a year --that sounds like a lot but is actually less than the cost of subscriptions to local newspapers for a year --and they do a much better job at presenting and analyzing what is going on than the mainstream media does (in fact, the MSM relies on them quite a lot for information). I'm sounding like a paid advertisment here (sorry, sorry) but that's because I've been sold after checking out their stuff.

You can get a really fantastic report titled Hezbollah and Iran: Security Risks Beyond the Middle East for free here. One of the most useful parts of this that I found was their information on the structure of Hezbollah and particularly on "Where Hezbollah has illicit business interests, and how this impacts its capabilities in conducting terrorist attacks." They give a really good analyses on how and why the events unfolding in Lebanon are raising security risks around the world.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Arab nations recognize threat that EU fails to see

One of my extremely kewl readers, Lisoosh, pointed this out in the comments but it definitely deserves its own post (thank you for pointing this out!)

Saw this on the AP... It is very interesting from the Arab perspective - they realize the threat of Hez, even if the EU and others don't.

"Arab Nations Urge New Israeli Peace Plan
By SALAH NASRAWI (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated Press
August 19, 2006 2:55 PM EDT
CAIRO, Egypt - Worried the Lebanon war has given a boost to Iran and militants in the region, three U.S. allies in the Mideast are spearheading an Arab effort to present a plan for reviving the stalled peace process and talks with Israel.

Details remain sketchy, and already Israel has expressed skepticism, saying it doubts any plan the trio put forward will take its security needs into account. But the effort by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan is a clear sign of their worries about tensions and Iran's influence.

So far, the United States has not talked about a wider peace effort in the wake of the Lebanon fighting, instead focusing on ensuring the Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah is reined in.

Leaders of the three moderate Arab governments, however, want to seize the opportunity in the war's ashes to restart negotiations with Israel for peace on the Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese fronts.

They fear letting the situation stagnate could increase the appeal of radical Islamic groups and allow Iran and Syria to keep using Hezbollah in proxy wars, breeding more resentments and more militancy.

Hesham Youseef, top aide to Arab League chief Amr Moussa, told The Associated Press the Arab countries are putting together a peace plan to present to the U.N. Security Council next month because they believe "we should build on the international concerns on what is going on in the whole area."

"Big crises sometimes create opportunities to find comprehensive solutions for difficult problems," he said, noting Arabs and Israelis began the Madrid peace talks just months after the 1991 Persian Gulf war that expelled Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait.

"The war in 1973 also led to peace," Youseef said, referring to the diplomacy which began after that Arab-Israeli conflict and eventually resulted in the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

BBC accurate for once

Miracles will never cease --the BBC has finally put up a story about Israel that is accurate for once. Granted, they waited until after the war was over to say anything about the damage and trauma Israelis experienced but better late than never. You can read the article about Kiryat Shmona here. I sent them a little note thanking them for providing a bit of accurate coverage about Israel. I noted that we do not expect "positive" articles but we do expect accurate ones and that in future it would be nice to see more balanced reporting when it comes to this region because that has been seriously absent in their coverage of the war against Hezbollah. [Anyone who is interested in writing them can do so here]

In other news, the German police have arrested two people who are suspected of being involved in the plot to bomb two trains in Germany. Interestingly, there may be a connection to Hezbollah as a list found with one of the bombs not only lists grocery items and bomb-making materials but also has a phone number written on it that is in Lebanon. Thankfully, the two bombs were not put together correctly and did not go off or there would have been many hundreds of people killed on those trains. Before anyone decides there is a connection between the war between Israel and Hezbollah and these bombs, please remember that this bomb plot occurred pre-war and while we Israelis were considering our Lebanese border to be the safest and most tranquil save the area along the Sea of Salt across which is Jordan.

In personal news, today was one of those days that really just might as well not have happened. You know the kind, you don't really get anything done and wonder where the heck the day went given that you got nothing done. Well, I got the floors swept and mopped and my feet still get black after walking across them a few times. I did dishes and now there are more dishes to do. I got nothing done as far as work although I stared at my work stuff hard enough that there should be at least four or five papers written but alas...I did have a lovely conversation with my mother. The cats have undone all the other straightening I did. I'd say why bother to straighten to begin with if that were the case but trust me they would make it far worse.

Oooooo anyone know how to get stains out of a white cotton skirt? Not sure what kind of stains they are --something I sat on for sure like when I sat down on a wall or a bench. Definiely not coffee or tea or anything of that variety. The skirt has only been worn once, washed once, and yikes where did these stains come from?

Aliyah Anniversary --one year on

So one year ago, on August 18, 2005 at 6 a.m. in the morning I stepped off of the El Al plane
with my cat Buffy in tow and two more kitties riding cargo and became an Israeli citizen. It has been one heck of a first year in my new country, my new home. I've personally experienced gains and losses over this year. One of my kitties, Pandy, was able to enjoy her new home and new citizenship for far too short a time and not a day goes by but that I think about her and miss her, my little psycho kitty as I teasingly called her. But I've gained three new sabra kitties and Mischa and Buffy are proud of their new Israeliness.

I certainly never expected our country to be attacked and war to break out when I was packing my boxes and dreaming of being here. No, back then I, as was this nation, I was dreaming of a peace that seemed tantalizingly within reach. I supported, from afar, the disengagement from Gaza and indeed I arrived on the day that the disengagement began. I remember being worried about what I would wear because most of my summer clothing was in various shades of orange and that, of course, was the colour chosen by those against disengagement as a political statement. I shipped all my orange attire rather than packing it in my suitcases to carry along. If I were packing today, it is possible that I'd put all the orange into my carry-alongs. I have to think about that a bit more but I certainly no longer feel the certainty that our withdrawal from Gaza was a good step. I am not certain at all that the election of Hamas and the attack by Hezbollah were not, in fact, set fully in motion by our doing so.

But back then, just one scant year ago, I was experiencing the euphoria of the disengagement with the seeming promise that this was a first and very big step toward having peace with our Palestinian neighbors. That euphoria lasted for almost two months for me and for my new country until a suicide bombing brought us all back to reality, followed by Sharon falling into a coma, Hamas being elected, additional suicide bombings, katuysha rockets pounding our towns in the south day in and day out, and then all hell really breaking loose.

One year on I see very little chance of peace in the near future with our Palestinian neighbors. I see very little chance of lasting peace with Hezbollah, a terrorist group operating out of a country with which really we could and should have a peace treaty and neighborliness --if it weren't for the terrorist entity within their midst. A year ago Hezbollah and a war taking place in Lebanon was not even on my radar. I, a new and green olim, and the vast majority of the most veteran of Israeli-borns would have laughed and scoffed at the idea of a war happening in Lebanon in the summer of 2006 on the day that I disembarked from that plane. But we were wrong.

My first year has been difficult in many other ways. While I can read and write in hebrew passably well (halfway through the second book of Harry Potter and kinda sorta maintaining a hebrew blog though the war has certainly put a stopper on the latter), I actually speak less well than when I got off the plane. That is a sad but true fact. It is something I intend to change and change dramatically during my second year here. The dramatic cut in salary has been a serious shock. But I've got an Israeli credit card now (Aha!) and just grinned when my bank helper, who gave me the card, noted that I'm in very good shape for getting it being as I am only 1200 shekels into my overdraft by the 16th of the month and thus have an excellent credit rating.

I've learned not to be upset and gring my teeth when in the grocery line at least two people jump the queue in front of me, placing their many purchases they've been off collecting for the last 20 plus minutes down next to the single bag of bamba or the cola from the as-you-enter-fridge that is sitting innocuously at the back of the conveyor belt and note that they were there first and thus get served first. No, I don't get upset. Now when I enter I grab a coke from the fridge and place it at the end of the belt, go off and do my leisurely shopping and then jump in front of all the "friers" who didn't think to do so. And I get served ahead of them. I've learned the system.

And, in spite of my losses and the pain I feel over them, in spite of the war that took place in a country in which I now have many friends living, in spite of sometimes being afraid and sometimes being angry, of sometimes being frustrated and sometimes losing hope for a better spite of all these things, I have have no regrets. Indeed, I've gained far, far more. Friendships of a good and deep variety I've forged. As I write this I have a sabra kitten curled in my lap and another curled behind me. Mischa is showing Israeli ingenuity and helping himself to food from a container that is theoretically childproof but certainly not Cat-olim proof. Buffy is proving she is the princess of any country in which she resides, be it the U.S., Germany, or her home in Israel. Matan showing true sabra colours is gently giving Gingi a bath (after having chased him round the apartment earlier). And me, I'm looking forward to starting the second year of the rest of my life in my country, as an Israeli.

And that, my friends, is cause for celebration.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Desecration of Israeli Bodies by Lebanese Villagers

I think I am about to be ill. Little Green Footballs has a video up of that has been being shown on Future TV in Lebanon. The video shows body parts, they claim from Israeli soldiers, being poured from a bag and the villagers then stomping on them and holding them up for the cameras.

I'm putting a warning here up about the extremely graphic and gruesome nature of this video. But I also think that it is important that people see it and know about it. Israel has been so maligned in the International media about our "brutality" in Lebanon --the world needs to how the other side reacts for a bit of a comparison. Sorry but they win with a brutality award on this one.

In fact, if you have a blog in the U.K. or in France or other parts of Europe I urge you to blog this.

[Folks at the BBC since at least some of you are reading my blog --wanna cover this?]

To the International Community: Sorry Guys You are Too Late

So says the folks at the Lebanese Politcal Journal in an extremely insightful analysis of what is going on in Lebanon currently. They note that
Hezbollah's already retaken all of their old sites, and they've probably already found new and better sites for the next attack.

Does Israel have anyone on the ground or in the sky monitoring what Hezbollah is doing right now? Probably not. Israeli PM Olmert and Defense Minister Peretz have already proven their incompetence. Thinking ahead is way beyond their capabilities.

Have to agree with you there guys, along with much of the rest of the analysis they provide (very worth a read).

What I want to know is if the International Community has managed to get exactly what they wanted for the present and the future. Let's take France. France has been cozying up to Iran quite a lot lately. And if you remember my post here about the Red Cross openly helping Hezbollah back on August 10th, the statement that jumped out at me in that article at the time was that of a Hezbollah man: “This comes from Iran but maybe after a while, the next shipment will come from France,” the man said, a slight but knowing smile spreading.

So we have France who jumps up and down screaming for an immediate ceasefire along with a lot of other people. France cobbles together a UN Resolution that does everything to keep Hezbollah armed and dangerous and nothing to disarm it. They claim they will lead the charge with UN Forces that are supposed to go in --and then say no we might send 12 advisors, oops there's an outcry, ok 200 soldiers, ooops people are still yelling at us. Ok, 400 soldiers and that's our final offer. And of course no one will disarm Hezbollah. They are thus singlehandedly endangering even the totally useless UN Resolution that THEY CREATED.

Then we had Condi Rice here right after the Qana incident running around crying we have to work out an immediate ceasefire. At that point she and the Bush administration put a lot of pressure for greater restraint to be used. And a lot of Olmerts squirrel activity was the result of calls from Rice saying ''Oooo wait there might be a ceasefire deal at any minute." And then the U.S. caved in to the UN deal which really left us no options but to agree to it even though it may well place Hezbollah in a position of greater strength than ever. And it has certainly emboldened the radical groups in the Palestinian Territories.

Check this out from Al-Aqsa "They [Israel] threatened to demolish Gaza and Lebanon and we saw that wasn't so terrible. The question is if we, the Palestinian organizations, can withstand the initial fire of Israel. If we succeed in prevent collapsing after the first hit – there is a chance we will win." They go further to note that they have learned a lot from Hezbollah's tactics and will begin building bunkers in their cities from which to strike and so forth. And they, along with everyone in the Middle East if not in the "wise International Community" believe that there will be a next time:
"From our acquaintance with them, there is no way they are going to disarm. The organization has strategic objectives and the current battle proves that if it will decide to initiate another battle – the road is paved. The next time Iran will be in the picture and missiles on Tel Aviv will be part of the game. When this happens, it will be a lot easier for us. We are proud of our brothers, the Hizbullah fighters. They are inspirational teachers that demonstrated everything we have been feeling in recent years – Israel is falling apart," he said.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Cat Who Crossed the Border to become Israeli

Thanks to one of my readers, Doug, I found out about this very cool story:
An unusual sight was seen a few days ago, with the exit of Paratrooper Brigade forces from Lebanon: one of the brigade reserve soldiers was carrying, along with all his heavy equipment and weapon, a white kitten. "On the way back to Israeli territory we passed through the village of Kauzer," said the soldier, "and all of a sudden I saw a kitten coming out of one of the houses. After a few seconds I realized it is wounded and that its hearing has been hurt. I picked it up and carried it for six kilometers, until we reached Israeli territory. I decided it deserves a better future. After all, it is not its fault that war broke out." The first thing the cat and its new owner did after having crossed the border into Israeli territory was to share IDF military canned meat. The cat was named Kauzer by its new owner.

And you can read other cool stories about the IDF here

Of course this story, for someone who is very cat-owned, just got right to my heart. Doug shared with me and so I had to share with you :)

I love impossible tasks

Yes, being just a tad sarcastic there. My current impossible task is to take a syllabus which was approved by powers higher than just a regular university and pull four lectures from it to fit within another syllabus (for which I have almost no information -just one line titles for each lecture which tells me nada --and which covers areas and equipment and so forth I have no training in). Further, syllabus 1 (my syllabus) has absolutely nothing to do with syllabus two. As in zero, zilch, two ships passing on separate planets. Now, about a month and a half ago I was given this same task --pull four lectures and make them relevant to this course. I managed to create the closest thing I could figure out given that these two things have less than zero in common. But, it wasn't good enough. In fact, it was completely scrapped (not by me). I have to try again. But I can't just create new lecture topics that would fit (like I would have a clue what those might be to begin with) because I have to use the ones that have already been approved by high and mighty your university gets a stamp of approval people. BUT THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER. My level of frustration is reaching new highs, right along with my blood-pressure. This_is_not_possible!!!!

Top BBC reporter caught in blatant lie in Lebanon reporting

You can see the video report by Orla Guerin over at Little Green Footballs. In her report she states "I havent seen a single building that isn't damaged in some way. Many have been flattened, many have been singed. This town has really been wiped out."

Channel 4 news was also covering the same scene and reporter Alex Thomas's coverage stated, "As you can see, the centre of the town destroyed on a really wholesale scale, more so than since the last civilians left here, though it has to be said that on the outskirts, the suburbs -- pretty much untouched by the Israeli attack and invasion."

You can read about an exchange, showing where her bias may be coming from, that she had with a reporter from the New York Sun in Jerusalem a while back here. Yeah, that's right Orla, us Jews "are all the same," we're all "troublemakers." Nice call there.

There are loads of funky photos that have now been identified coming out of the coverage in Lebanon. You can see Herbie Reads the Koran and Herbie Not Fully Exploded here. There are so many photos that it is impossible to keep track of them all. What I want to do is to create a webpage where all of the proven-to-be-faked or falsely captioned photos (as admitted by the media) are placed, and then are followed by all of the other highly suspect photos so that they are all in one place. There are two reasons for this (well probably more but I haven't had enough coffee yet to corral them all): first, because many people seem to think that it was just Hajj who took funky photos, and two because while Reuters has come out and admitted that Hajj's photos and some of their captions provided by other photographers were misleading, AP and other news agencies have circled the wagons and denied that anything is amiss. So let's round them up all in one place, with the photographer each was taken by, the news agency each worked for, and the venue in which it was published and see. This is a big project and not one I can take on myself entirely. Are there any volunteers to help round up and present the photos? I'm going to create a blog for them today and if you email me (yaeli dot kaynan at gmail dot com) to get onboard I'll give ya the keys to the blog and you can get to the round-up. Let's herd some photos!

Treated like dirt: Israeli Arabs back away from Palestinians

Two separate conversations I had today mirrored the sentiments expressed in a YNET article that came out today and so I'm thinking this really must have been an overwhelming experience for many Arab-Israelis and with a spreading effect. When the bombs began falling on Haifa and points northward, many Arab-Israelis heeded Nasrallah's suggestion that they should get out and away. Because many have family in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem those destinations became popular with our fleeing arab citizens. It seems they did not, however, receive a warm welcome and that quite a significant part of our Arab population are quite het up about it. Many found themselves physically attacked by Palestinian residents, others were threatened, insults were hurled at the girls and women, they were over-charged for everything from bottled water to hotel rooms.

And many decided the rockets might be dangerous but they were better than the treatment they were receiving in the West Bank and so returned home. Their ill-treatment at the hands of Palestinians may well leave lasting scars. This was a sentiment echoed by many: "'We will never again make a donation or participate in a demonstration for the West Bank from now on."

Meanwhile, the widow of Arafat has married the brother-in-law of the Tunisian President. Suha Arafat is given 22 million dollars a year from the secret fund of the Palestinian Authority. This fund is reported to be approximately four (4) billion dollars. So, why is it again that the Palestinians have been given yearly more monetary support from governments world-wide than all the other nations-in-crises combined? I mean, geez, if you can afford to give 11 million dollars to cover one person's life-style for half-a-year in Paris every 6 months you'd think you could get along quite nicely...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Syria wants to destroy us and my cat is not fat

Hmmm, the two major things I want to talk about are fighting it out to be first. Like any good news person (heh) I will give the hard news first and the happy feel-good news last --at least my cat is feeling good about it.

So, on the news front, Assad spoke about Syria's support of Hezbollah and noted ""This resistance is a medal to pin on the chest of every Arab citizen, not only Syria." He went on to say that ""We tell them [Israelis] that after tasting humiliation in the latest battles, your weapons are not going to protect you - not your planes, or missiles or even your nuclear bombs... The future generations in the Arab world will find a way to defeat Israel."

The German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier cancelled his trip to Syria after that speech and said, the speech was a "negative contribution that is not in any way justified in view of the current challenges and opportunities in the Middle East. Syria can gain back the confidence of the international community it has lost with positive and constructive action - and on that basis pursue its legitimate interests. The speech today... goes in the opposite direction."

Hezbollah is still not disarming and now the Lebanese govt is trying to work out some deal where Hezbollah gets to keep all their weapons in Southern Lebanon: they just have to keep them out of sight. Uhhhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhh.

Now on to the fat cat that isn't. My cat Mischa looks more like a panther than a cat. For one thing he is black but mostly it is because he is BIG. Really, really big. Back when I had Pandy the two black beasts were affectionaly called Fatty 1 (Mischa) and Fatty 2. Several people who have visited my apartment commented that Mischa is not a cat, he is more like a small horse. Yeah, that kinda sums it up. And he's gotten even bigger lately. The fact that he is like Alice in Wonderland after she nibbles on the Eat-me cookie and grows and grows despite being on a strict diet cat-food (and not a lot of it), along with a nagging cough he's had for the last month spurred me to carry, heft, lug nearly give myself a hurnia bringing him the block and a half to the vet. (Seriously folks, getting whacked by a car was nothing compared to the aches in my arms and shoulders after this excursion!).

He was given every test known to cat-kind. He was examined by not one, but two vets. Heart checked, blood tested, biometric stuff done for fat-to-muscle ratios, weighed, poked and prodded. The answer: well he does weight 9.5 kilos (21 pounds) but it ain't fat. It is muscle. He is just a very big boy. In fact, he should be eating more than I'm giving him cos he has too much muscle to fat (ACK). Why is he coughing? Hairballs. He is a shedder (oy va voy, you are telling me) and being that it is hot he is shedding apace and licking himself into hack hack (ulp) worry-your-mother space. And can you believe that when I got him he fit entirely, from ears to tip of tail, in my hand? No, no I can't believe it either. He gets a bigger dinner tonight but I ain't ever moving houses again cos it will take a crane to get him out of here.

4000 new olim (immigrants) arrived during the war

4,000 Jews Immigrated to Israel During War
12:13 Aug 15, '06 / 21 Av 5766

( During the course of the war, more than 4,000 Jews from around the world immigrated to Israel, the Jewish Agency announced Monday.
And 550 more new immigrants will arrive tomorrow morning, on three chartered El-Al Flights from New York, Toronto and London. According to the reports not a single person backed out or postponed their arrival because of the war. And I can tell you from my personal experience the war has sparked interest in aliyah to a high degree --I still have nearly 60 emails to respond to from people asking questions about how they go about it (and have been answering everyone as fast as I can over the last few weeks --those in the queue please be patient I'm getting to you). Yalla l'Aliyah!!

Lebanese govt helpless in the face of Nasrallah, Annan tranq'd out

Well here's the big surprise (NOT): Nasrallah is refusing to disarm Hezbollah and the members of the Lebanese government are saying they can't do anything about it and are wringing their hands. The guys over at Ouwet Front sum up what the thinking people in Lebanon are thinking at the moment in this well titled post: Nasrallah --Fuck Off!!

The Lebanese Bloggers (another great website if you aren't already reading it) echo that sentiment a bit more politely but the sentiment is certainly the same. The guys and gals over at The Lebanese Political Journal are mourning the situation in a post entitled" "I Was Wrong: Hezbollah is Much More Powerful Than I Ever Imagined" And there is an excellent post that gets highest recommendation for reading over on Free Cedar that calls for some critical self-examination in Lebanon and it is one of the most thoughtful posts I've ever read.

Does the Lebanese government saying they can't do anything about Hezbollah and wringing their hands sound familiar? It should, they've been doing it for the last six years. To give them credit, however, they really don't have a hell of a lot of power to actually disarm Hezbollah and Kofi Annan and his little UN resolution made damn sure that they won't have that power. In fact, Annan is now re-interpreting clauses of the ceasefire to make them even more ineffectual than they already were. I mean, heck, being 95% ineffectual just won't do, gotta make sure it is 100%.

[I HATE blogger. Archives of previous posts are now by the week and located waaaayyyy at the end of the sidebar. Otherwise it wouldn't let me write another word It also won't let you do a partial list of archives so, uh, yeah the list is kinda long. Kinda scary that I've used 1 MB of space already this month though!]

Monday, August 14, 2006

A personal and news mix plus last will and testament

I just heard a bit ago that two Fox journalists have been kidnapped by armed gunmen in Gaza. One of the journalists is Steve Centanni and another is an Australian camera man. I'm really hoping they are released soon and safely.

FOX on tv at the moment is covering the faked photos that came out of Lebanon. Very kewl.

If I die tomorrow my life may be pretty close to being complete because I got linked by Little Green Footballs. Thud. When linked by people you consider among your personal heroes that is a WOW experience.

Speaking of dying tomorrow the following is my last wishes in case I croak within the next 20 plus years. No, I am not posting it because of fears a rocket will fall on me, nor because of the suicide bombers that like to hang out in my neighborhood. Nope, nope, nope. It is definitely the result of the second close call in three days from inattentive Israeli drivers. On Saturday I nearly got creamed by a guy who didn't notice the light had turned red. Today, just down the street, I nearly got creamed. The car at the light attentively and politely stopped, I started my happy little crossing to meet my student at the cafe on the other side, but the car behind Ms. Polite slammed into her thus making her nearly slam-kill me. I actually got hit and knocked about 3 feet. I got a big bruise but nothing else. Lucky me. I figure putting this really publicly is better than getting a lawyer I can't afford (any time soon) so here is the deal if I get whacked off in any form or fashion:
I want a proper funeral for a nice socialist zionist girl. This means I want it on a kibbutz without any religious mumbo jumbo, but of course in the jewish section. I want a proper Ha'shomer Hatzair/Dror kinda affair. Someone --yo all you people I know here any or all of you will do --gets to a) feed my cats before the family arrives to care for them, b) tell the family they better get over here before I get buried cos we get buried real quick (heh) c) do the hebrew speak to whoever it is you tell this to that I wanna blue rather than a white shroud and if it is allowed I'd like our flag to be kinda wrapped around me all the way up to the point where I get buried but, of course, don't bury the flag. Family gets first dibs on my totally useless stuff but my mother is not allowed to keep everything I've ever touched, doodled on, and so forth --someone control her please :) --and dvds, books and such you all get to divvy up. Then I want you all to throw a big party, play some Sarit Hadad, Tipex, and whoever else floats your boat, and celebrate your life, celebrate my life. It has been darn good and, if you are gonna get run over by any crazy driver this is the best country to get run over in :)

Updates coming in a bit cos there are some very kewl links to some very interesting posts I came across but first I have to eat something.

P.S. After nearly getting killed to get to my meeting, the student was a no-show!

Palestinian "collaborator" murdered--horrific scene

I'm putting a warning up here: the scenes of the murder and subsequent mutiliation in public yesterday of
Bassam Mallah, the 22 year old Palestinian that Islamic Jihad accused of being an Israeli collaborator are very graphic and horribly disturbing. This young man was accused of giving information to Israel but he was not arrested, he was not tried, he had no chance to defend himself. He was shot like a dog in the street to much fanfare by the onlookers. There are pictures at the link above of his execution, of the crowd jostling in to get pictures of his corpse with their cellphones, his body being kicked, and most horrific of all pictures of a woman --the mother of an Islamic Jihad member who had been killed 4 years ago --walking up to the corpse and then stomping on this boy's head and neck repeatedly until well I'm not even going to write the until.

The major media, outside of Israel, of course did not give this incident even a mention.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Welcome to the shooting gallery"...

That title says it all: check out Lisa's blog. If a title doesn't do it here's a taster:
The nearly abandoned city reminded us of scenes in Hollywood movies set in Grozny - or Sarajevo, circa 1992. Brush fires set off by Hezbollah rockets blazed everywhere, creating a thick pall of smoke that dimmed the usually bright Levantine sunlight. Bits of ash floated about like snowflakes, the smell of smoke permeated the air and was absorbed in my clothes and hair. And the constant booms, explosions and sirens provided loud background music - a live, post-modern version of Albinoni's Adagio in G Minor for this long shot of Apocalypse Now: The Middle Eastern Version.

Pres. Ahmadinejad trying to infect Israelis with web viruses?

****Update: Israelis strike back -Crash site on Monday*** [My understanding is that there was malicious code in the form of malware on this site on Aug 14th targeted at Israelis. It was there for slightly less than 24 hours. It is no longer there. The site is currently clean]
****Update: This in from Symantec:
We at Symantec Security Response have investigated this issue thoroughly and can find no indication of malicious code being present on that nor on the landing page that triggered the alert.
We believe what happened was that an IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) signature in Norton Personal Firewall triggered an alert on the website due to HTML code on that page that must be present to exploit the MS IE DragDrop Embed Code vulnerability. Upon investigation, it appears that while the code in this case is harmless, its presence was suspicious enough to trigger an alert. Additionally, this issue is not limited to Israel, as we were able to reproduce the issue ourselves.
We have taken steps to modify the IPS signature which was causing this alert to appear and the updates will be available shortly. In the meantime, we recommend that all user ensure that their software, such as browsers and operating systems, are fully patched and their security software up to date with the latest updates and definitions.

Information forwarded to me:

The Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, has opened his very own blog. You can read the news here. Wouldn’t it be nice to pay him a visit and tell him what you think about his terror-supporting regime? Don’t do this! It’s a trap!

Does Iran now use the Internet to harass Israeli citizens? To take advantage of the increasing Iranian-Israeli dialog online? If you do visit the blog, the first screen looks innocent:

But if you click on one of the links on the left side of the page (and you are coming from Israel), you get this alert from your firewall:

And here is what Norton Internet Security has to say about this alert:

Looking up IP address on DNSSTUFF clearly shows it is indeed an Iranian address. Here is the contact info for it:

“HTTP MS IE File DragDrop Embed Code”, according to Symantec is “an attempt to exploit a vulnerability in Internet Explorer […that] if combined with other vulnerabilities, […] could aid in execution of arbitrary code on the client computer”. Bad stuff.

Want to check this out yourself? Unless you are a security expert, don’t. If you understand the risk, and want to see for yourself, go to and click on Anyway, make sure all your defenses are up before you enter!

And yo, people who aren't Israelis and who are computer savvy, do you get this or no?

LIVNI for Prime Minister!!!!!!

Yo folks, I think it is time we start the Livni for Prime Minister campaign.

The woman is smart, she is articulate, she shoots straight from the hip, she is the closest thing we've ever had to a Golda Meir. Maybe the most important thing about her is that other countries REALLY LIKE HER. They find her appealing and persuasive. They like her style and don't take offense at her straight-forward manner. Maybe that is because while she is straight-forward she actually also has manners. She knows how to lay out information to the non-Israeli (e.g. the people in the rest of the world who find a blunt stating to facts to indicate rudeness and arrogance) public as well as to us, knowing how to call a spade a spade in the bluntest language of the big boys.

She was an officer in the IDF and she was in the Mossad. She knows whats what!

Olmert hates her because she shows "independence." He didn't want her heading off to the UN because, for one thing, people tend to LISTEN to her and RESPECT her and that is just way too much competition.

Even people outside of Israel are saying, yo Livni should be the top dog and Olmert relegated to the doghouse. This blogger from Egypt says
"I like her. She is cute, She is smart, and Olmert dislikes her, which gives her total "Not retarded" points right about now. Hell, it seems like she was the only one who took sane and logical measures those past few weeks ...
Plus, she is a woman. Israel does really well under female leadership. It did well under Golda, and ever since Golda was no longer in power it has been acting really stupid. Maybe what Israel needs is another female leader.

For all of those reasons, this blog supports Livni for PM of Israel. I am not isreali, and I can't really affect things either way, but seriously, can you think of someone better or smarter at this point from both the israeli or arab perspective? "

Other Israeli bloggers blogging for Livni: Lena
Yeah, Livni for PM. LIVNI FOR PM!!!